Mark Damon Dead: Golden Globe-Winning Actor from “House of Usher” and More Was 91

The actor was also prominent in indie film financing and produced movies like 'The NeverEnding Story' and 2003's 'Monster'

<p>Jeff Vespa/WireImage</p> Mark Damon

Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Mark Damon

Actor and business exec Mark Damon, who starred in 1960 film House of Usher, has died, multiple outlets report. He was 91.

The actor-turned-businessman died on Sunday, May 12, of natural causes in Los Angeles, his family told The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. His death came just days after the death of his House of Usher director Roger Corman at age 98.

The Chicago-born actor studied at UCLA — where he roomed with Jack Nicholson — before breaking onto the big screen in films like Inside Detroit and Screaming Eagles, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After starring in the House of Usher — which earned him a Golden Globe — Damon went on to act in spaghetti Westerns and travel to Europe, where he starred in films like Johnny Yuma, Black Sabbath and The Young Racers.

<p>Aip/Kobal/Shutterstock </p> Mark Damon in 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher'


Mark Damon in 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher'

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Recalling his stint as a Western star in a 2014 interview with writer Sydney Levine, he said, “I was surprised, because I had never ridden a horse in my life.”

“Cowboys had to be tall and blond, and I’m not that tall. I had very dark hair at the time,” he continued, “but they said, ‘It doesn’t matter. You’re American.’ I said okay and learned to ride a horse.”

Upon returning to the U.S., he switched over to the business side of the film industry, helping to invent independent film financing.

<p>CBS via Getty</p> Mark Damon

CBS via Getty

Mark Damon

The actor-producer founded the Producers Sales Organization, which brought American independent films to international distributors and helped launch the American Film Market and Independent Film & Television Alliance, according to Variety.

Reflecting on how his business changed the film landscape, Damon told Variety in 2013, “Back in 1975, it was very tough.”

“At that time, usually the producers found funding from private sources. They couldn’t use foreign contracts as collateral,” he said, adding, “that’s something our company kind of invented.”

The following decade, Damon had tapped into not only film distribution, but also producing. He worked as an executive producer on two Wolfgang Petersen films, 1981 war film Das Boot, which earned six Oscar nominations, and 1984 fantasy classic The NeverEnding Story, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Other films he executive-produced include Short Circuit, The Lost Boys, 9 1/2 Weeks and 8 Million Ways to Die.

Damon also produced 2003’s Monster, which told the story of Aileen Wuornos and earned himself and director Patty Jenkins an Independent Spirit Award — plus a Best Actress Oscar for Charlize Theron.

<p>Jeff Vespa/WireImage</p> Mark Damon in 2011

Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Mark Damon in 2011

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In 2008, the acting vet co-authored a book about his life, from his “Italian playboy” days to his film industry contributions: From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damon.

Damon is survived by his wife, Maggie Markov Damon, whom he met when she starred in 1974’s The Arena, which he produced, per The Hollywood Reporter. He is also survived by his son Jonathan, his daughter Alexis Damon Ribaut, and his son-in-law Mathieu Ribaut.

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